Video: Secretary of state for energy opens Ketton solar farm
The minister in charge of energy said the views of communities should be taken into account on large-scale renewable projects.
Amber Rudd MP (Con) was speaking after she opened the second phase of the solar farm at Hanson Cement in Ketton today (Monday).
The 12 megawatt (MW) project, build by Market Deeping firm Lark Energy, is providing 13 per cent of the cement work’s electricity, reducing its energy bill by about £10m.
Mrs Rudd said: “Any large scale projects, and that includes, renewables, should take the community with them, and I would hope that they can do that.
“In this example here you can see apparently there were no objections at all from the local community. It’s in quite a discreet area, so it’s not screaming at an area of outstanding natural beauty, and it’s been sensitively handled with the wildlife as well.
“Rutland is a beautiful county and I think it’s very important that beauty and that integrity is maintained, but I would hope the renewable industry can do that.”
It’s a great triumph really to see solar energy working closely with an energy-intensive industry, which is quite out-of-the-norm.
The solar farm is built on land reclaimed from a 1940s quarry.
Mrs Rudd said other companies could learn from Hanson Cement’s approach.
“It’s a great triumph really to see solar energy working closely with an energy-intensive industry, which is quite out-of-the-norm.”
The Government cut its support for solar farms with an output bigger than 5MW in April. Mrs Rudd said she was keen to see more domestic solar panels in use.
“Solar has expanded at such a rate that we need to make sure we support it in the right way, and this is a good example of that sort of support.”
Lark Energy managing director Jonathan Selwyn urged the Government to provide “stability and certainty” for his industry as it moved towards zero subsidy. He said: “This will enable us to continue to provide significant new clean energy capacity and maintain the many thousands of jobs in the sector.
The solar farm comprises 50,644 panels and will save 3,420 tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions per year.